Adidas AG is launching an investigation into allegations that rapper Ye was allowed to behave inappropriately towards staff at the German sneaker chain.
The sportswear group ended its lucrative design partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in late October after he made a series of anti-Semitic and racist remarks. Since then, allegations have continued to mount about the rapper’s erratic behavior and treatment of designers and other employees of Adidas, whose collaboration with Ye was once one of the most successful in industry history.
An article in rolling stone magazine, citing former employees speaking anonymously, detailed alleged incidents of inappropriate behavior towards workers and potential hires by Ye. According to the magazine, former Adidas employees sent an anonymous letter to the company claiming that senior executives knew about Ye’s problematic attitude but had “turned off their moral compass” and failed to protect the employees. employees.
“It is currently unclear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” an Adidas spokesperson said. “However, we take these allegations very seriously and have made the decision to immediately launch an independent investigation into the matter to address the allegations.”
Ye could not immediately be reached for comment. News of the investigation was first revealed by the FinancialTimes.
Adidas is also facing questions from one of its major shareholders, Union Investment, who wrote to the sneaker company on Thursday asking for more information about the allegations.
“Adidas must disclose when the boards of directors and supervisors first became aware of these internal accusations,” said Janne Werning, head of capital markets and stewardship at Union Investment.
The Ye controversy knocked Adidas’ revenue down to 250 million euros for the year and compounded other problems the group was already facing. Earlier this month Adidas named Bjorn Gulden, the former CEO of rival Puma SE, to take over as CEO. He will start in January and try to help the company recover from an array of challenges, including in China, once Adidas’ biggest growth engine, where sales have slumped amid consumer boycotts of western brands.
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